In regard to
students who are not receiving or eligible for special
education services, the State of Iowa vests authority to expel a student from a
public school in the school boards of each Iowa school districts. Iowa Code § 282.4(1). A
school board may, by a majority vote, expel
a student for a violation of the regulations or rules established by the board,
or when the presence of the student is deemed to be detrimental to the best
interests of the school. The board may
confer upon any teacher, principal, or superintendent the power temporarily to
suspend a student, notice of the suspension being at once given in writing to
the president of the board.
Although students of
mandatory school attendance age do not have a
Constitutional right to a public education, in
Under Iowa law, if a student breaks a school rule punishable by expulsion
or a suspension of more than ten days, due process procedures are required,
which culminate in a hearing before the school board. In making its decision about whether to
suspend the student for more than ten days, or to expel him or her for a year,
the board is charged with considering “the best interests of the school
district” and “what is best to protect and ensure the safety of the school
employees and students from the student committing the
requires that prior to the hearing, the school district must provide written
notice by regular U.S. mail to the parents and student. According to the School Administrators of
Iowa, the notice should state the
specific school rule that the student is accused of violating AND specifically
state that expulsion is being considered or recommended. The school district must schedule a an
expulsion hearing before its school district board of directors, within ten days
from the date the student was excluded from school.
See In re Guthrie, 19 D.o.E.
App. Dec. 306 (2001). The School
Administrators of Iowa recommend that if the school district plans to introduce
evidence of the student’s past disciplinary history, this should be stated in
the notice. In addition, the notice
A recital of the rights of the parents and student
The parent and student’s right to counsel of his or
her choice at their own expense
The right of the parent and student to produce
witnesses to testify on the student’s behalf
The right to a closed hearing unless an open
hearing is specifically requested
generally, 281 IAC 6.1(290).
In re Shinn (14
D.o.E. App. Dec. 185
(1997)) which states that the due process rights of an expelled student include
written findings and conclusions as to the charges and penalty. The Findings of Fact section should
the testimony of those who testified about the guilt or innocence of the
student. The "Conclusions of Law" part
of the written decision should set out the penalty the board has chosen.
Suspensions and Expulsions under the
et seq. Under the IDEA and its
regulations, a school district may suspend or move a student with a disability
to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 10 school days
(consecutively or per school year) if under the circumstances a nondisabled
student would be treated in the same manner for the same violation.
Change of Placement
34 CFR 300.530 through 300.535.
The behavior must be determined to be a manifestation of the child’s
disability if the parent and relevant members of the child’s IEP Team determine
the conduct in question was the direct result of
the local educational agency’s failure to implement the
Behavior is Determined to be a
Even if the IEP team determines that the behavior was a manifestation of
the student’s disability, the school district may file for a due process hearing
and ask the administrative law judge to order that the student receive services
in an interim alternative educational placement for up to 45 days, on the basis
that maintaining the student in his or her current placement "is substantially
likely to result in injury to the child or to others." 20 USC §
Behavior is Not Determined to be a
Whether or not the IEP team determines that the behavior was a
manifestation of the student’s disability, the IDEA specifically authorizes
school districts to unilaterally (i.e., without the parent's consent) remove a
student to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45
school days if the student carries a dangerous weapon to school or a school
function, knowingly possesses, uses, sells or attempts to sell illegal drugs at
school or at a school function, or inflicts serious bodily injury upon another
person while at school or at a school. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1415(k)(1)(G)(i); 34 C.F.R.
§ 300.530(g). The placement must include
services to address the behavior for which the student is being suspended in the
Todd Co. Sch. Dist., 625 F.3d 459 (8th Cir. 2010), cert. den., 132 S. Ct.
367 (2011); 20 U.S.C.S. § 1415(k)(2); 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.530(d)(5), 300.531.
Student who Might Be Deemed to Have a
The IDEA deems a school district to know that a student has a disability
if, before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action
The parent of the student requested an evaluation
of the student pursuant to 34 CFR 300.300 through 300.311; or
school district is not be deemed to have knowledge that a student has a
disability if the student’s parent has not allowed an evaluation of the student
pursuant to 34 CFR 300.300 through 300.311, has refused special education
services; or the student has been evaluated in accordance with 34 CFR 300.300
through 300.311 and determined to not be a child with a disability under the
IDEA. 34 CFR 300.534 (c); 20 U.S.C. 1415(k)(5)(C).
The parent of a child with a disability who disagrees with any decision
regarding placement under 34 CRF 300.530 and 300.531, or the manifestation
determination under 34 CFR 300.530(e), or a school district that believes that
maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result
in injury to the child or others, may appeal the decision by requesting an
expedited due process hearing. 34 CFR
300.532(a); 20 U.S.C. 1415(k)(3)(A).
When an appeal is filed by either the parent or the school district, the
child must remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending the
decision of the ALJ or until the expiration of the time period specified in 34
CFR 300.530(c) or (g), whichever occurs first, unless the parent and the state
department of education or school district agree otherwise. 34 CFR 300.533; 20 U.S.C.
? Return the child with a disability
to the placement
from which the child was removed if the ALJ determines that the removal was a
violation of 34 CFR 300.530 or that the child’s behavior was a manifestation of
the child’s disability; or
The Iowa Department of Education is responsible for arranging the
expedited due process hearing, which must occur within 20 school days of the
date the complaint requesting the hearing is filed. After the hearing is completed, the ALJ must
make a determination within ten school days after the hearing.
A resolution meeting must occur within seven days
of receiving notice of the due process complaint;